Swinton Car Insurance
Swinton Insurance is certainly one of the more established insurers on the High Street, even if it’s name might not be the first to trip off the tongue when you have to name a car insurer.
It’s been around for over 50 years having been founded in 1957.
Swinton Insurance offers a wide variety of cover and isn’t just a car insurer.
In fact, it’s more of a broker because it offers policies from “a specially selected and trusted panel of insurers”.
Which means the company doesn’t offer polices from the whole market, but only from a restricted number of underwriters.
Even so, the company boasts that its customers who buy car insurance through it do OK.
They say that 10% of all new customers paid “£169 or less annually for comprehensive cover”, excluding optional extras.
But though that figure is eye-catching, it is only applicable to one in 10 customers.
The only way to find out if you can save money is by crunching the numbers and comparing deals online.
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Types of Swinton car insurance policies
The company offers three types of policy, which certainly makes selection simple.
These are ‘Essentials’, ‘Classic’ and ‘Premium’ cover, which range in cost as the names suggest.
The key benefits for each type of cover are:
All - Damage to the car; fire and theft; cover to drive other cars (third party cover); emergency medical costs; repairs to your car, which will be guaranteed for five years; audio, satnav and car equipment; courtesy car, while yours is fixed after a claim; windscreen cover (£150 excess for essentials).
Classic and Premium only - Legal expenses; uninsured driver protection, which refunds your excess and protects your no claims discount if you’re hit by an uninsured driver); driving abroad cover for up to 90 days a year, 30 days at a time; lock replacement and personal belongings protection.
Premium only: Excess refund – if you have an at-fault claim, your excess will be refunded up to £500; Hire car – if your car is written off or stolen and not recovered, you get a small hire car for up to 14 days while you find a new car; mis-fuelling cover, if you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car, up to £2,500, one claim a year.
The company also offers third-party fire and theft cover as a Classic product, but this excludes cover to drive other cars, emergency medical costs, personal belongings, replacement locks and child seat replacement cover.
Keep in mind that you won’t always save money by opting for a quote for third-party only – often insurance companies charge less for comprehensive cover.
Add ons and options
For any of the Essentials, Classic and Premier polices, there are a number of add ons available, including: Breakdown Cover – there are several packages here, ranging from local cover to Europe-wide.
Or you could opt to protect your no-claims discount – in the event you have to claim, that claim would not be counted against you at renewal time.
BUT there are restrictions – first, you can only make up to two claims a year under this protection and you must have four-plus years to protect.
Don’t forget also that, while your no claims discount will still apply, any insurer will almost certainly raise your renewal premium just because you made a claim.
So the discount will be on a higher premium.
There is also a wide range of policy options tailored to young drivers, people who own modified or performance cars, drivers with convictions and owners of classic cars.
Before you pay for any extras, read our guide on whether they're worth it.
What do Swinton customers think?
Well, according to Swinton, customers rate them highly. They say on their site that customers rate them 4.4 out of 5, based on 835 reviews.
That’s not quite the rating they receive from Which?, which surveys customers on a number of essentials.
In their survey, Swinton are firmly towards the bottom end of the table.
Here’s what they scored:
* Customer service: 83%
* Speed dealing with claims: 72%
* Communications with customers: 66%
* Settlement valuations: 61%
* Overall satisfaction: 65%
On a more positive note, their site is certainly clear and easy to follow and even been approved by the Plain English Campaign.
If you're ready to switch and save, compare car insurance deals using our free tool.
Swinton was caught out a couple of years ago over its controversial policy of taking a “pre-renewal deposit” out of customers’ accounts as much as a month before renewal dates.
This amounted to a month’s worth of premiums and the company said it could do this under its terms and conditions. But this is before a quote for a new premium had been issued.
The company said customers who renewed would have the money taken off their next payments – those who didn’t could claim the money back.
But, as we all know (or should by now) auto-renewing is a mug’s game and it looks to us as though Swinton’s policy was actually all about just making it a little harder for people to switch.
Under-hand, we’d say.
So, check the small print and make sure this is not going to happen to you, if you decide to go with Swinton.
Swinton in the news
On 27 April 2017 Swinton announced it was cutting 900 jobs and closing 84 branches as customers switched to online.